1.05.2009,9:04 PM
Camp Letter
Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,
Here I am at
Campo Desert Rat.
Camp is very entertaining
And we have all the fun with no complaining.

Don't take me home,
I promise I'll ride all my bikes,
And fill in between with more hikes.
Because now I blend in with the freaks;
I've been here two whole weeks!

This trip was not just about riding bikes. It was much more than that. In fact, I didn't ride as much as I could have. When I did, it was awesome. (Except for the Bad Day in Moon Valley sand when Lizard Brain took hold and kept yelling about broken digits. But, well, when you fall down in deep sand half a dozen times, you start laughing uncontrollably.)

This trip was more than just riding bikes. It was peeling away the layers to learn and know more about the land, times, history, and people. I hiked and explored canyons, caves, desert trails, washes, arroyos, hillsides, mountains, old ruins, renovated ruins, new homes built of rocks, sand and straw, and all that glitters is not gold.

I saw, smelled and touched natural history from thousands of years ago -sea creatures embedded in rock over a thousand feet above modern sea level, layers of ancient sediments and dust, colored rock formations that folded upon itself to look like petrified velvet cloth, thousands of stars carpeting the sky above us, and the ever-changing painting on the desert mountains and basins with the palette of the sun.

I met local people that live in the desert thriving on variety, flexibility, self-reliance and sustainability. These are the real people that form the backbone of small communities in places like these -the desert, the backwoods of the north, etc. The common thread is survival. Just as they are independent and self-reliant, they are also connected together with a bond of community; they help each other. This is where humanity shines.

I also met other travelers from odd places, places I've lived and grew up in: New York, Maine, Oregon. And fellow travelers from other places: Alaska, Illinois, England...... Something about Big Bend seems to bring out the best in most visitors, perhaps establishing a common bond.

This trip wasn't just about riding a bike. It was so much more. It was a opportunity to become more intimate with everything -natural and human- and to re-enforce that which is precious: the environment and friendships. It reminds us what we can do without, what is necessary and what is frivolous. The contrasts between life in such remote and primitive places reminds us what is important. And what is not.

When you find the road that takes you to the center of the beating heart, take it. You'll find you are already there.

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posted by Macrobe
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